By August March
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything (Constellation)
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra gets called post-rock, and everyone in Canada and parts of northern Michigan freak out. Efrim Menuck and company certainly do make use of standard rocanrol instrumentation while purposely turning their backs on conventions of the genre, but the seventh TSMZMO album, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything, also demonstrates the ensemble’s tendency to simply rock out. That’s a welcome, stunning contrast to the portentously dark excursions Menuck often took with his other band, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. That isn’t to say this music is typical of the genre or any of numerous sub-genres. Veering, sometimes chaotically, from atonal drone to ghostly alt-folk settings to grandiose, Marshall stack-craving feedback, Fuck Off is fresh, heavy listening.
Pixies released Surfer Rosa in 1988. That album was wicked, sexually audacious pop that crackled with grinding intensity. But when the band had the chance to paddle out to meet the big wave—the approaching grunginess of the early ’90s—they retreated to their respective seaside shanties. Maybe the rumble of looming giants blinded them, who knows. Twenty-five years later, Black Francis, Joey Santiago, David Lovering and new recruit Paz Lenchantin are back with live tour dates and a series of new recordings to go along with. The latest is called EP2. Kim Deal is noticeably absent from the band’s new efforts. Perhaps Deal was the brains behind the whole deal: This recording sounds like any decent but uninspired rock music with a mediocre psychedelic inflection, but nothing more.
Robyn Hitchcock famously sang that he saw Nick Drake “at the corner of time and motion.” Hitchcock’s vision of the oblique and solemn folkist from Warwickshire, a darkly luminous shadow of his own musical tendencies, ironically became brighter post mortem. Drake’s music continues to weave itself into the musical landscape with melancholy colors and brooding beauty. The latest compilation of his work, a box set titled Tuck Box, offers listeners three absolutely amazing albums, plus examples of just about everything the man recorded before, during and after atramentous jewels like Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter were born unto this mortal coil. Each LP-replica sleeve is complemented by an official promo poster. Though Drake’s oeuvre has long been available to wanderers of rock’s dusky fringes, Tuck Box brings the mysterious Nick Drake into the limelight, at the corner of time and motion, where he rightfully shines.
For their seventh studio album, Lift a Sail, Yellowcard had a simple but ambitious goal: to outdo everything they’d ever done before. The guitars and drums had to hit harder; the songwriting had to cut deeper; the choruses had to reach heights only hinted at on their previous outings. Frontman Ryan Key believes he and his bandmates—guitarist Ryan Mendez, violinist Sean Mackin, bassist Josh Portman and guest drummer Nate Young (Anberlin)—succeeded on all those fronts. “We really feel like we got where we wanted to be, and made a proper rock ‘n’ roll record,” Key says proudly.
Alex Culbreth at Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn
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